Data Privacy Week a Time to Urge Congress to Do More

This week, developers and firms around the world are working to raise data security awareness as part of Data Privacy Week. Data Privacy Week was created in 2008 by the National Cybersecurity Alliance to help consumers better understand their power to control their own data, as well as helping firms understand why it’s important to respect their users’ data. This week provides us with a great opportunity to reflect on the work Congress accomplished over the last two years to advance a national privacy framework. It’s also a time to remember to urge Congress to do more to help spur innovation and protect consumers. 

As it stands, 43 states have introduced 133 different privacy bills since 2018. These bills, if enacted, would create enormous headaches for devs –especially those at small- and medium-sized firms. This patchwork of laws might be navigable for large, multinational firms, but for the lion’s share of Alliance members, they would put an immense strain on their ability to continue to innovate and grow. Big firms often have sharp legal minds ready to tackle issues like this; many other firms don’t. And that’s why these firms need a single, national privacy framework that preempts the other frameworks states have enacted. 

Late last year, Congress came close to passing this needed legislation. A Congressional committee in the House of Representatives passed the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (H.R. 8152) which would have ushered in sweeping privacy reforms with broad, bipartisan support. The bill would have benefitted devs across the board by preempting the patchwork of privacy laws scattered across the country. Unfortunately, the bill never made it to the House floor over concerns that its preemption mechanism was too weak.

It’s time for this Congress to reintroduce this legislation and make sure it clears both chambers of Congress. Too much is riding on the privacy debate. Devs need a clear understanding of the privacy landscape, and consumers need to know their data is safe and secure regardless of what state they –or the app they shared their data with –are in. Consumer trust is paramount to the app industry, and if done correctly, a broad privacy bill will only help make consumers safer and grow the app ecosystem. 

As Data Privacy Week unfolds, remember to urge Congress to pass a commonsense privacy bill that preempts the patchwork of state laws. To learn more about devs and data security, listen to my interview with Contrast Security here. You can also visit the National Cybersecurity Alliance’s website here.

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By Geoff Lane

Policy Counsel & Head of US Policy Geoff Lane serves as the Developer Alliance’s head of U.S. policy. In this role he oversees the organization’s federal legislative and regulatory agenda as well as state-level efforts. Prior to joining the Developers Alliance in 2022, Geoff worked with senior Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives. Since his time on Capitol Hill, he has held senior roles at various technology trade associations (including a previous stint at the Developers Alliance). At each stop he led efforts at the intersection of innovation and policy. He has worked on critical policy issues including privacy, encryption, patent reform, workforce development, corporate tax, tax nexus, and research and development. Geoff holds a B.A. from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. When he is not working, you can find him booing all of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams. Geoff is based in Washington, D.C.

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